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Locating Chinese WomenHistorical Mobility between China and Australia$
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Kate Bagnall and Julia T. Martínez

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528615

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528615.001.0001

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Introduction: Chinese Australian Women, Migration, and Mobility

Introduction: Chinese Australian Women, Migration, and Mobility

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Chinese Australian Women, Migration, and Mobility
Locating Chinese Women

Kate Bagnall

Julia T. Martínez

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter reviews the state of the field of Chinese Australian women’s history and provides an introduction to the historical presence of women of Chinese heritage in Australia. For too many years Chinese Australian women’s history has been doubly erased in a gendered and racialized historiography. This has been compounded by the perceived absence of the primary sources needed to undertake a recovery project. As feminist historians we now recognize that aided by the digital revolution and a creative use of newspapers, family histories, official statistics, and government records, it is possible to uncover and illuminate Chinese Australians women’s lives in the past. In doing so we question the framing of Chinese women as static or immobile while their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons took part in large-scale migration from Guangdong in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Placing the movements of migrant and Australian-born Chinese women in an international context, we propose a spectrum of mobility along which women’s individual, and changing, situations can be situated. This introduction also surveys existing historical scholarship on Chinese women’s migration and settlement in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, recognizing that international themes offer inspiration for Australian research.

Keywords:   Chinese Australian women, Chinese Australian historiography, Chinese diaspora historiography, Recovery history, Feminist history, Women’s history, Family history, Gender history, overseas Chinese history

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